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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with J. Carlyle Sitterson, November 4 and 6, 1987. Interview L-0030. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Strategies for recruiting black students to UNC

Sitterson describes his active recruitment of black students in the late 1960s. As a result, he witnessed a huge increase in black enrollment during his chancellorship.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with J. Carlyle Sitterson, November 4 and 6, 1987. Interview L-0030. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

J. CARLYLE SITTERSON:
We did a lot of things to try to speed up the process of integration. We really started, I read with some interest now these people who think they're doing something in order to increase the black presence in Chapel Hill. Well, all these things we've done years ago, and they just fell into disuse, apparently. For example, inviting black Merit seniors here. Well, the Black Student Movement and the Chancellor's Office together started that way back in 1967 or '8. I wrote letters and these students went out to visit the high schools. At that time, you must remember, the schools were not integrated. I mean, in the sense…
PAMELA DEAN:
Theoretically they were, but…
J. CARLYLE SITTERSON:
I mean, they were in the sense that there were a few good , but they were essentially black high schools and white high schools, not so designated, but, in fact, that's what they were. So these students went out to these, and they were getting no contact with the University, the black high schools. So no recruiting was going on, no information and so on. So we started several, and I appointed, as you know, I appointed Ben Renevick to the staff of the Admissions Office to establish contact with these, with our black high schools, to inform them about the University and the opportunities for them here. We also sent students out to them, and I wrote letters to all the principals, all of them in the state of North Carolina, telling them that we wanted to do this and urging them to welcome these students who were coming through, explaining the University. All of that resulted in a very substantial increase in black enrollment. When I came in as Chancellor, the black presence in the freshman class… Now, that's really the only place to measure it because that's the place where you, the measure, the number totally at one time doesn't measure what you're accomplishing anything like as much as, because the freshman class, you're projecting several more years for it. We went from an entering class of thirty-five black freshmen to more than 250, and we did that in those six years. Since then, we have gone from 250 to 350, and that's all.